Covid-19 pandemic is not yet over completely. Over 5 million deaths reported so far, this pandemic changed the living normal. The consequences of this pandemic are visible since its outbreak which includes death, loss of job, fear to go out of home, salary cuts, economic breakdown etc. Amongst these consequences, one major consequence being observed in 2021 is the “voluntary resignation” in many countries.
There was a Great Depression in 1930s, Great Recession was witnessed in 2007-08 after the fall of Lehman Brothers and now, Covid-19 pandemic has witnessed what is being termed as “The Great Resignation”. The term Great Resignation was likely coined by Anthony Klotz, a professor of management at Mays Business School of Texas A&M University, who predicted this mass exodus in 2021.
In March 2021, Microsoft published a research work, The 2021 Work Trend Index. The research work predicted around 41% of the workforce are considering leaving their employer in 2021.
As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3 million American quit their jobs in June 2021, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021. Resignations peaked in April and have remained abnormally high for the last several months. August 2021 statistics is similar. Record 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August 2021. This massive resignation statistics substantiates the term “The Great Resignation”.
Tech firms, hotels, restaurants and healthcare sectors witnessed the maximum resignation as these sectors require more in-person interactions.
The statistics is of USA, but European countries are also witnessing resignations on large scale. Germany witnessed the highest resignation in Europe, accounting for 6% of workers leaving their jobs this year. This was followed by UK with 4% and the Netherlands wit 2.7% of workers leaving their jobs. One-third of the companies in Germany are short of skilled workers. Amongst the member countries of OECD, 20 million workers have not returned to work post pandemic.
Many garment workers in Vietnam left their job. Such kind of mass voluntary resignation and that too on such scale is rarely observed. We have often heard of termination of employment at mass level but this time it is “The Great Resignation”.
The “Great Resignation” witnessed by few countries, what impact it can have on India? Does India sooner or later witness such kind of resignation? The Indian IT sector, hotels, restaurants, health care employs a lot of working population and if this happens in India, these sectors will suffer the most.
Few experts state India had started witnessing the Resignation era and if not, the resignation era will be coming sooner or later. Although, the attrition rate in Indian Tech sector is increased to 21%, it is a matter of concern if India is moving ahead toward “The Great Resignation”?
Causes of Resignation
Decoding the causes of this “Great Resignation”, employees have started giving more importance to their life and family than their work. Some of the causes of resignation includes:
- Fear Factor: Covid-19 pandemic had instigated a sense of fear among the employees. Many lost their colleagues and family members due to the pandemic. Those who were not able to give time to their family due to their jobs, they are considering spending more time with their family and take care of them.
- Salary cuts and more work: Many companies cut down the salary of their employees, ranging from 10% to over 50%, while no relaxation in the work performed. This means employees were working on less pay and work more, leading to no proper rejuvenation. Many times, they were forced to work on holiday without extra compensation. Companies used this as a tool to make their business as they were not terminating the employees but started taking much more work with salary deduction. This became a demotivating factor to continue to work.
- Work-Life Balance: “Work-Life Balance” is a term generally observed in books but not in reality. Most of the employee work more than their scheduled working hours. Many times, employees are forced to work after the working hours as they get some “urgent work” post their working hour is over. Late sitting has become a common phenomenon in most of the companies and in India, late sitting is natural. This leads to untimely day to routine which may results in health complications.
- Giving importance to hobbies: Hobbies are generally kept aside by a normal employee. The pandemic taught many to utilize their hobbies and monetize it for their living. Many focussed on their hobbies and left their job.
- Start up and Entrepreneur: Many considered to open their own firms from and become an entrepreneur. Many decided to become a full-time freelancer.
- Giving importance to life rather than job: “Life is more important than job”, this has been realized by the employees who were “workaholic” in the past. The pandemic taught them to focus on their life, family and their children. Remember, when an employee used to meet their friends or relatives on weekends only, when an employee had to beg for leave for attending a marriage function etc. Employee realized that all these are important in life to live a happy life.
- Flexible work: Employee need flexible working environment and hours. They are looking for such a job which can take care of this need.
- Remote work vs Base Location: Many employees changed their location and settled with their family. They want to stay with their family and organizations are not allowing employees to work from the location of their choice. This has resulted in many resignations as well. Companies want employee to stay at the base location irrespective whether their work require their presence or not. Work from home became a new normal but work from remote location has not yet. As per the work profile, if it does not require employees to go to office, then also they are forced. This creates a sense of dissatisfaction and employees are reluctant to accept the same resulting into resignation.
- Empathy: Empathy is rarely observed in corporate world. This is one of the main reasons of resignation at this level. Employees are willing to work but in return they want their company to understand their point of view too which is rare.
Job is important and those who survived the Covid-19 virus, they will value life more than anything including job. The Great Resignation is also called as “The Worker’s Revolution”. Whether this Great Resignation will continue, or end is a question itself.
– Ashish Kumar